Does the WordPress audit log effects the performance of my website?

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This is a question many people ask because website owners want fast loading website, and rightly so. In very short, the WP Security Audit Log plugin does not effect the performance of a website. As one of the chief WP Engine engineers said after analyzing the plugin:

“The latest version performs quite admirably in the stress tests I put it through.”

If you are looking for the long answer and a detailed explanation, this post explains in detail how the WP Security Audit Log WordPress plugin works and what resources it needs to run.

WordPress Activity Logs for Logged In Users Only

Before we dive into the performance issue, it is important to note that the WP Security Audit Log plugin only keeps a log of changes logged in users do, with the exception of 404 errors. Therefore when website visitors are browsing your website, none of the plugin code is executed. So the plugin does not have an effect / impact on the browsing experience of your websites’ visitors.

Plugin Code is Only Executed When Logged In Users Make Changes

Plugin code is only executed when a user logs in and starts making changes. The more users you have logged in at the same time, the more the plugin has to keep a log of and the more entries you will have in your WordPress activity log (audit log).

A WordPress audit log

What is the Resource Footprint of the WordPress Audit Log?

Any component running on your website, such as a plugin, theme, custom code and WordPress itself require resources (memory and CPU power) to run. So if you add a SEO plugin, it will consume some of the available resources on your server. The same applies to when you install a security hardening plugin, a firewall plugin or a theme.

So like everything else running on your website, the WP Security Audit Log needs resources (memory and CPU power) to run.

How Many Resources Does the WP Security Audit Log Plugin Need?

Security and performance are two factors we really focus on, because the WP Security Audit Log plugin is installed on some very big WordPress multisite networks. We do optimize the code frequently, making sure the plugin runs on the least possible resources.

Though the amount of resources you need to run the plugin depends on the number of active users you have on your WordPress website. If you have ten users, of which only two are typically logged in simultaneously, then the plugin will consume very little resources. If you have a multisite network on which hundreds or thousands of users are logged in at the same time, then the plugin (and all other components on the website) will need more resources to run.

How Much Resources Does It Use When Compared to Other Plugins?

Different plugins do different operations, so every plugin requires a different amount of resources to operate. For example a simple plugin such as Hello Dolly needs much less resources to run than a WordPress firewall, which has to analyze every request hitting your WordPress website.

The most important criterion to consider is how efficient the plugin is. Some plugins are written better than the others, so they operate much more efficiently. So when looking for a plugin make sure it is developed by a reputable business, and that it has been around for some time. If a plugin has tens of thousands of installations and have been around for a few years it has surely been optimized from time to time to run efficiently, otherwise it wouldn’t have be installed on thousands of WordPress websites.

Conclusion – If You Need a Plugin (functionality) Install It

The endless plugin vs performance debate – how many plugins should a website have? Or, how many plugins can I install before my website starts slowing down?

There is no ideal number of plugins and no plugin will slow down your website. A small hobbyist website requires much less plugins than a fully blown e-commerce solution. So rather than asking how many plugins you should install, you should ask what functionality do you need. If you need your website to do A, B and C, make sure that you have enough resources on the server so when you do A, B and C the website’s performance is not affected. If it is effected then it means you do not have enough resources to run the website you need and you should consider upgrading the server.

Therefore if you need to keep a record of every change that happens on your WordPress website, install the WP Security Audit Log plugin.

Ensuring That Plugins (functionality) Do Not Slow Down Your Website

If you need several plugins on your website make sure you have the adequate web server / web hosting package to run them. Do not try to run a fully blown business e-commerce WordPress website on a low cost / spec’d server. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Apart from a good web hosting package (we use WP Engine), there are also other things you can do to optimize your website’s performance, such as – using the WP Rocket plugin (we use it) to enable caching and configuring a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Website speed optimization is another science and you should definitely read more about it!